Friday, April 24, 2009

Birding at Kanha

Though the prime attractions of the preserve are the tiger and the swamp deer, Kanha offers good birding prospects. Other attractions are bison, leopard, wild dogs and the sloth bear. The spotted deer or Chital are ubiquitous and the main prey base of the carnivores. Sambar deer too falls in the same category but their numbers are less compared to Chitals.

Kanha offers best birding pleasure as more than two hundred sixty birds are found in the cold season. The migrants start arriving by middle of October and their number increases gradually. There are more of forest birds to be check listed on Kanha bird watching tours than wetland birds. The habitat is most suited for forest and grassland birds though wetland birds can be seen also but not in great numbers.

The major species to be seen are raptors like Crested Serpent eagle, Crested Hawk eagle, Honey buzzard, White Eyed buzzard and Osprey. The endangered White Rumped Vulture and Long Billed vulture can be seen but in less numbers.

Among owls Brown Fishing owl, Mottled Wood owl, Jungle owlet, Spotted owlet and Collared Scops owl can be sighted. Rufus tree pie, Coucal, Cuckoos, Flycatchers abound. White Rumped Shama, Brown Cheeked fulvetta and Indian scimitar babblers are commonly heard but less seen. Similarly Indian Pitta and Seerker Malkoha make Kanha National Park in Central India their preferred habitat.

Grassland birds like Common stone chat, Pied Bush chat, Cisticola, Larks, Pipits and Privies are the main avifauna. Racket Tailed drongo and White Bellied drongo are seen often and heard as well. In winters warblers like Hume’s warbler, Tickell’s Leaf warbler and Greenish warbler arrive along with some more warblers.

Among the wetland birds the Spot Billed duck and Lesser Whistling teals are common while migrants like Northern Pintails, Common Teals, Eurasian Wigeon and Tufted ducks can be seen in Sondhar and Bisanpura wetlands. Lesser Adjutant stork, Opened Billed stork and Wooly Necked stork

Kanha National Park offers fantastic opportunity for bird watching although the tourists are more interested in tigers. The park is often visited by local birders and birding enthusiasts from various countries. The bird tours are growing in Kanha as birders learn about the interesting species of the park.

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